Mahsa Amini Protests in Iran Enter Sixth Week as Shopkeepers, Factory Workers Go On Strike

Shopkeepers and factory workers went on strike in Iran on Saturday as women-led nationwide protests sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini in custody entered their sixth week, activists said.

The death of 22-year-old Amini after her arrest for allegedly violating Iran’s strict dress code for women has fueled the largest protests in the Islamic Republic in years. Young women have led the charge, taking off their headscarves, chanting anti-government slogans and confronting the security forces, despite a crackdown that human rights groups say has killed at least 122 people.

Activists called for new demonstrations as Iran’s working week began on Saturday, but it was difficult to gauge turnout due to internet access restrictions. “On Saturday … we will be together for freedom,” activist Atena Daemi said in a Twitter post that featured an image of a bare-headed woman raising her fist.

This was announced by the social media channel 1500tasvir AFP There have been “strikes in some cities including Sanandaj, Bukan and Saqez” while it has been difficult to see evidence of this online as “the internet connection is too slow”. Saqez, in the western province of Kurdistan, is Amini’s hometown, where anger over her funeral flared last month, sparking the protest movement.

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Elsewhere, “students protested at Yazd Faculty of Arts and Architecture, Tehran University, Allameh University, Razi University in Kermanshah, Hamedan University, Ahvaz University and Yasuj University,” 1500tasvir said.

“Operatives, oligarchs, lobbyists”

Dozens of workers were seen gathering outside the Aidin chocolate factory in the north-western city of Tabriz in footage taken by 1500tasvir. AFP couldn’t check the videos right away. Iran has accused its nemesis, the United States, of wanting to use the protests to gain concessions on talks to restore the 2015 nuclear deal.

“Americans continue to exchange messages with us, but they are trying to fan the flames of what has been going on in Iran over the past few days,” Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said.

Organizers of a massive rally held in Berlin in solidarity with Iranian protesters called on “democratic governments… to stop negotiations with the criminal state known as the Islamic Republic.” In a statement, the Iranians for Justice and Human Rights group also called for the expulsion of the Islamic Republic’s ambassadors.

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“We are not asking you to interfere in Iran, wage war or sanction the Iranian people,” it said. “We want you to impose targeted sanctions on the Islamic Republic’s leaders, activists, oligarchs and lobbyists.”

The rally in Berlin, which drew thousands of people, is one of several demonstrations being held around the world, including in Australia and Japan.

A teachers’ union in Iran has called a nationwide strike for Sunday and Monday over the crackdown that claimed the lives of at least 23 children, according to Amnesty International. The Coordinating Council of Teachers’ Unions said the sit-in was in response to “systematic repression” by security forces at schools.

“Imprison, Maim, Kill”

Activists have also accused the authorities of a campaign of mass arrests and travel bans to quell the protests, with athletes, celebrities and journalists being dragnetted. Overnight, an Iranian mountaineer who was reportedly placed under house arrest for competing abroad without wearing a headscarf last weekend took to Instagram to thank her supporters.

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Elnaz Rekabi, 33, wore just a headband at an event at the Asian Championships in Seoul in what many took as a gesture of solidarity with the Amini protests. “I sincerely thank everyone who came to the airport for welcoming me, I love you,” Rekabi said in her first comments on social media since returning to Iran on Wednesday at a hero’s reception.

That BBC and based in London Iran International The television announced on Friday that Rekabi had been placed under house arrest. Her phone was reportedly confiscated before she flew home.

On Friday, a New York-based human rights group called on the International Federation of Sport Climbing to do more to protect them. The IFSC “should work with human rights organizations to protect professional climber #ElnazRekabi and all Iranian athletes,” the Center for Human Rights in Iran tweeted.

“Don’t take the Iranian government at face value – it has a documented history of detaining, maiming and killing opponents,” the CHRI added.

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